SIFF “Face The Music” preview: Microphone

Every culture deserves their Rock ‘n’ Roll High School or Style Wars, and and Microphone, a film by Ahmad Abdalla, might be that movie for Egypt.

Festival Screenings:

9:30 PM Mon, May 23 Harvard Exit
4:00 PM Tue, May 24 Harvard Exit

When Khaled returns to Alexandria, Egypt, from the United States, he feels rather disconnected instead of feeling back at home. If his mother’s death and watching his lonely father isn’t hard enough, his struggling to save his derailed love relationship is no help either. He is lost, in a culture shock from living in America for few years. Living abroad gave him a better understanding of own traditional values and the realization that change is inevitable. With his traditional view altered from exposing himself to another culture, he senses something good and interesting in Alexandria’s underground scene. A local young skater’s help and network opens Khaled’s access to the city’s local musicians, artists & youth subculture, in which they combine Western influences with their traditional art & music. That’s when Khaled comes up with the idea of organizing a multimedia event with bands and artists of Alexandria. But Khaled has no way of knowing how difficult and controversial this idea will be.

In Microphone, band members and artists play their own characters within the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, which attracts visitors escaping from the summer heat of Egypt’s capital, and where there are about 30 metal bands, dozens of hip hop groups, another dozens of bands making original fusions of world music. Among them are some of the movie’s prominent figures:

Y-CREW (Omar Aly Al-Missiry a.k.a. Omar Boflot, and Mohamed Hanafy, or Hamota Yfam) is the godfather of Alexandrian hip-hop and Alexandria is the capital of Arab hip-hop. The crew started in 1998 with Omar Baflat and Yaseen 9mm. They believe in inspiring lyrics, political or social subject accompanied by good music.

MASCARA is Sherine Amr (vocalist & classical) & Nancy Mounir (violinist) with “conviction that the Egyptian culture is not one that can healthily mix between genders.” They are the first Egyptian progressive metal band with all straight edge members.

MASSAR EGBARI is known as The Best Band Performing Original Songs in Arabic. “Massar Egbari” means “Compulsory Track”, a name intended to reflect how society forces people to lead their lives in a particular way. They have most traditional Arab sound fused with rock and jazz.

AYA & RAGAB is an elusive graffiti artist since 2008. Always playing cat & mouse with police while searching for the next canvas (perfect wall) to hit with their spray.

No matter who or where you are, everyone deserves their own version of movies like Rock ‘n’ Roll High School or Style Wars, and they’re what this film reminds me of.

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